Metabolomics to Exploit the Primed Immune System of Tomato Fruit

Estrella Luna, Amélie Flandin, Cédric Cassan, Sylvain Prigent, Chloé Chevanne, Camélia Feyrouse Kadiri, Yves Gibon, Pierre Pétriacq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Tomato is a major crop suffering substantial yield losses from diseases, as fruit decay at a postharvest level can claim up to 50% of the total production worldwide. Due to the environmental risks of fungicides, there is an increasing interest in exploiting plant immunity through priming, which is an adaptive strategy that improves plant defensive capacity by stimulating induced mechanisms. Broad‐spectrum defence priming can be triggered by the compound ß‐aminobutyric acid (BABA). In tomato plants, BABA induces resistance against various fungal and bacterial pathogens and different methods of application result in durable protection. Here, we demonstrate that the treatment of tomato plants with BABA resulted in a durable induced resistance in tomato fruit against Botrytis cinerea, Phytophthora infestans and Pseudomonas syringae. Targeted and untargeted metabolomics were used to investigate the metabolic regulations that underpin the priming of tomato fruit against pathogenic microbes that present different infection strategies. Metabolomic analyses revealed major changes after BABA treatment and after inoculation. Remarkably, primed responses seemed specific to the type of infection, rather than showing a common fingerprint of BABA‐induced priming. Furthermore, top-down modelling from the detected metabolic markers allowed for the accurate prediction of the measured resistance to fruit pathogens and demonstrated that soluble sugars are essential to predict resistance to fruit pathogens. Altogether, our results demonstrate that metabolomics is particularly insightful for a better understanding of defence priming in fruit. Further experiments are underway in order to identify key metabolites that mediate broad‐spectrum BABA‐induced priming in tomato fruit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number96
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Amélie Flandin, Cédric Cassan, Sylvain Prigent and Pierre Pétriacq; Project administration, Estrella Luna and Pierre Pétriacq; Resources, Estrella Luna, Sylvain Prigent, Yves Gibon and Pierre Pétriacq; Software, Sylvain Prigent; Supervision, Estrella Luna and Pierre Pétriacq; Validation, Estrella Luna, Sylvain Prigent, Yves Gibon and Pierre Pétriacq; Visualization, Estrella Luna, Sylvain Prigent and Pierre Pétriacq; Writing – original draft, Estrella Luna and Pierre Pétriacq; Writing – review & editing, Estrella Luna, Sylvain Prigent, Yves Gibon and Pierre Pétriacq. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. Funding: The authors are grateful for financial support from MetaboHUB (ANR‐11‐INBS‐0010) and PHENOME (ANR‐11‐INBS‐0012) projects to INRAE, and for the BBSRC Future Leader Fellowship BB/P00556X/1 and BB/P00556X/2 to EL. Acknowledgments: The authors thank Sam Wilkinson for his comments on the project. P. infestans isolate was provided by Steve Whisson (The James Hutton Institute). Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • BABA
  • Biochemical phenotyping
  • Botrytis cinerea
  • Metabolomics
  • Phytophthora infestans
  • Priming
  • Pseudomonas syringae
  • Tomato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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